ARMED police were called in whenamass brawl broke out in a street, with residents fearing the fighters had weapons.

Officers were called in when about 30 people turned up to fight in Hill Road, Southend.

Members of the public raised the alarm when they thought some of the 30 were carrying weapons.

Police arrested an 18-year-old man from Rochford on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon, but he was later released without charge.

Police could not confirm if the brawl had been organised prior to taking place.

Ric Morgan, Independent councillor for Prittlewell said: “This is very frightening, it’s getting to the size of a riot. If you were to walk around the corner and there’s a crowd of guys, possibly with weapons, that is going to scare people.

“It’s a shock for Prittlewell. If you think of a punch-up you think of people along the seafront who have come as visitors and drunk too much.

“It’s a very rare incident for the area, but it’s not totally isolated.

Just a few weeks ago a resident told me there had been a fight in Hobleythick Lane, not that it was anywhere near the size of this.

“It will upset residents in the area. I know many of the residents nearby and it’s a quiet little place, the only thing that annoys them is a few hooligans climbing over their fences but that is just children.”

The police helicopter was sent up to look for suspects, but no one could be found.

It is not clear whether anyone was seriously hurt during the incident, which happened just after 6.30pm on Friday.

Police are investigating the brawl and have asked anyone with information to call Southend CID on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.